Port Angeles citizen nabs man carting stolen goods in wheelbarrow

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A 23-year-old Port Angeles man was in the Clallam County jail Saturday after he was seen transporting what Port Angeles police say was a wheelbarrow full of stolen property.

Port Angeles police arrested Christopher Ray Barnett early Saturday for investigation of second-degree burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon and two counts each of second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree theft, Port Angeles Police Sgt. Jesse Winfield said Saturday.

Barnett was being held on $1,900 bail as of Saturday.

Police arrested Barnett at about 5:30 Saturday morning in a parking lot at the intersection of West Eighth and South C streets after he had been chased down and caught by a civilian who initially saw Barnett crossing C Street with the wheelbarrow about a half-hour before, Winfield said.

According to the police account, the civilian was driving on C Street near 10th Street and saw a man, later identified as Barnett, crossing C Street with a wheelbarrow full of various items.

The wheelbarrow apparently tipped over while Barnett was crossing the street with it, Winfield said, and the civilian stopped his car and got out in attempt to help Barnett reload the items that had fallen out.

Winfield said the civilian told police Barnett was acting suspiciously and did not respond to anything the civilian was saying to him.

As Barnett left, Winfield said the civilian decided to follow Barnett to ask him what he was up to.

When the civilian did, Barnett reportedly ran, making for a nearby house near the intersection of Ninth and C streets and hid behind a boat.

The civilian reportedly flushed Barnett out from behind the boat with a flashlight, Winfield said, after which Barnett ran with wheelbarrow to another Ninth Street property and managed to hid from his pursuer in a garage.

After unsuccessfully searching for Barnett, the civilian went to nearby Grandview Grocery and called police, Winfield said.

Two Port Angeles police officers responded and found Barnett hiding in the bushes of the Ninth Street property.

The officers chased Barnett north along C Street right past the civilian who had originally called police, Winfield said.

The civilian joined the pursuit and caught Barnett in a parking lot across Eighth Street from Grandview Grocery.

During the following police investigation later that morning, Winfield said officers found that the rightful owner of the wheelbarrow and the owner of the items inside were two separate people.

Winfield said the owner of the items, which included various tools valued at an estimated $200, had reported the garage on his property in the area of 10th and C streets had been broken into earlier that morning.

The owner of the wheelbarrow, who also lives in the area, also had reported the wheelbarrow stolen, Winfield added.

Additionally, Winfield said police had received at least two calls that morning — before Barnett was even spotted — of an individual with a wheelbarrow was trespassing across their property.

Winfield said police believe Barnett was the source of these calls.

“It appears to be a common thread that morning that someone was trespassing in yards [in that area] with a wheelbarrow,” Winfield said.

Winfield said police were able to reunite both theft victims with their property.

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 03. 2013 6:12PM
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